The View From Campus: An American Welcome for International Students
This month, we hear from Vicki Seefeldt-West, Senior Assistant Director for International Recruitment, Undergraduate Admissions at Ohio University, how welcoming are U.S. college campuses to international students.
Describe your institution in 5 words?
What is your institution best known for overseas?
Ohio University has a global reputation for our wide variety of academic programs, excellence in teaching and research, emphasis on hands-on, practical experiences, and high-ranking programs such as journalism and business.
What are your top academic programs (undergrad & grad)?
Undergraduate: Biological Sciences, Journalism, Psychology, Media Arts & Studies, Nursing
Graduate: Health Administration, Recreation & Sports Pedagogy, Sports Administration, Industrial & Systems Engineering, Curriculum & Instruction
What are the top 5 countries represented at your college/How international is your institution?
- Saudi Arabia
Ohio University admitted its first international student in 1895. Currently, over 1500 international students from more than 100 different countries call Ohio their second home.
How does your institution use IELTS in the admissions process? How valuable a tool is it in evaluating prospective students?
IELTS is one of the few methods Ohio uses to evaluate students’ English proficiency, which is critical to their success in an undergraduate or graduate degree program.
How Welcome Are International Students?
International students are most definitely welcome in the U.S. In fact, a group of U.S. congressional members recently issued a statement into congressional record supporting international students and scholars. As an international student, you will find that college campuses, in particular, are not only welcoming, but proud to be home to students from around the globe.
What steps do universities take to help international students feel welcome on campus?
Most universities make special efforts to welcome international students to their campuses. For example, schools such as Ohio University have groups of current international students available to answer questions before new students arrive, as well as act as mentors once the students are on campus. Admissions offices take extra steps to make certain international students are equipped with the specialized information they require. Many institutions like OHIO offer an international student orientation to make incoming international students comfortable in their new surroundings and to acquaint them with academics, student services, etc.
How seriously do U.S institutions value having international students on campus?
Most institutions in the U.S. are very committed to having diverse student bodies which represent as much of the world as possible. One great example of this is the #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign, featuring videos produced by a growing number of U.S. universities, which is “…a message of welcome from U.S. higher education to international students around the world.”
Universities also demonstrate their dedication through the amount of resources they invest in bringing more international students to their campuses. At Ohio University, for example, representatives travel world-wide to inform students about the university and all it has to offer them. We have specialists in our admissions office who can work with international transcripts, and a dedicated office to provide support services to international students.
What is the role of an international student office on campus?
International student offices play a primary role in supporting international students at their universities. Generally speaking, it is the office that provides information and assistance on immigration matters. They may act as a liaison to other support offices on campus, and as a connection with the greater campus community. Additionally, they can serve as a link to public services outside the university. Basically, they are there to help support you in your transition to life at a U.S. university!